To begin the new decade there are a surprising number of noteworthy films hitting theaters. As expected there is also quite a large pile of crap to maneuver around, but if you are looking for a good time at the movies there is definitely a choice each weekend. Check out the list below and we want to know what YOU are seeing this month, so vote at the bottom and check out the results!
Note: I have been getting some e-mails about not including previously noted limited releases that are going wide so here they are (all have appeared on the previous month’s list): Peter Jackson‘s The Lovely Bones (Jan 15th), Scott Cooper‘s Crazy Heart, Terry Gilliam‘s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Tom Ford‘s A Single Man, and Michael Haneke‘s The White Ribbon.
5. Legion (Stewart, Jan. 22nd)
Synopsis: At a remote truck stop diner, in the wake of a biblical apocalypse, a group of strangers unwittingly become humanity’s last line of defense when they discover the diner’s young waitress is pregnant with the messiah.
Why You Should See It: Thanks to Legion we have the funniest trailer of the decade (so far). I don’t think that is the intention, but this looks like one ridiculous over-the-top B-movie that can’t be missed.
4. Daybreakers (Spierig Brothers, Jan. 8th)
Synopsis: In the year 2017, a plague has transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher (Ethan Hawke) works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.
Why You Should See It: I saw this at Toronto International Film Festival back in September and it is some bloody fun. Creating one of the better vampire films in recent years, the Spierig Brothers do a lot with a little and it works wonders.
3. Edge of Darkness (Campbell, Jan. 29th)
Synopsis: As homicide detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent (Ray Winstone) tasked with cleaning up the evidence.
Why You Should See It: From the director of Casino Royale comes this year’s Taken. If you blink too fast during the trailer you may mistake Gibson for Liam Neeson, but this is a completely different film. Originally scheduled for a fall release, I can’t wait to finally see it!
2. The Book of Eli (Hughes Brothers, Jan. 15th)
Synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic United States, a lone man (Denzel Washington) fights his way across the country in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.
Why You Should See It: Gary Whitta. It also looks incredibly bad-ass. With sword-dueling Denzel and whacked out Gary Oldman set in a fantastic looking post-apocalyptic universe, I couldn’t be more excited to check this out.
1. Youth in Revolt (Arteta, Jan. 8th)
Synopsis: Like most teens, young Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is ruled by his libido. And from the recesses of a trailer park in Northern California, Twisp concocts a plan — make that multiple schemes — to lose his virginity to a local girl, the precocious Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday).
Why You Should See It: Shot almost two years ago, this coming-of-age film is finally seeing a wide release. I haven’t read the beloved source material, but this looks like the best work from Michael Cera since Arrested Development. With a supporting cast rounded out by Zach Galifianakis, Fred Willard, Justin Long, and Steve Buscemi this looks like the top film to check out this month.
When In Rome (Johnson, Jan. 29th)
Synopsis: Beth (Kristen Bell) is a young, ambitious New Yorker who is completely unlucky in love. However, when she impulsively steals some coins from a reputed fountain of love during a whirlwind trip to Rome, she finds herself aggressively pursued by a band of suitors.
Why You Should Avoid It: I saw an early screening of this a month ago and, while I laughed a bit more than expected, there is nothing of value to be found in this by-the-numbers rom-com.
To Save a Life (Baugh, Jan. 22nd)
Synopsis: After a childhood friend’s death, Jake Taylor, an all-star athlete must change his life – and sacrifice his dreams to save the lives of others.
Why You Should Avoid It: It’s hard to hate on Christian filmmaking since they really do put forth such an effort, but this film seems like it belongs in a primetime Lifetime channel slot.
Crazy On The Outside (Allen, Jan. 8th)
Synopsis: Tommy (Tim Allen) has just been released from jail and moves in with his supportive sister (Weaver) and her family. The only trouble is explaining Tommy’s whereabouts to grandma. The answer: “He’s been in France!”
Why You Should Avoid It: This looks like the lowest point of Tim Allen’s career.
The Spy Next Door (Levant, Jan. 15th)
Synopsis: Former CIA spy Bob Ho (Jackie Chan) takes on his toughest assignment to date: looking after his girlfriend’s three kids, who haven’t exactly warmed to their mom’s beau. And when one of the youngsters accidentally downloads a top-secret formula, Bob’s longtime nemesis, a Russian terrorist, pays a visit to the family.
Why You Should Avoid It: This looks like the lowest point of Jackie Chan’s career.
Tooth Fairy (Lembeck, Jan. 22nd)
Synopsis: A bad deed on the part of a tough minor-league hockey player (Dwayne Johnson) results in an unusual sentence: He must serve one week as a real-life tooth fairy.
Why You Should Avoid It: This looks like the lowest point of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s career.
Extraordinary Measures (Vaughan, Jan. 22nd)
Synopsis: A drama centered on the efforts of John and Aileen Crowley (Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell) to find a researcher (Harrison Ford) to develop a potential cure for their two children’s rare genetic disorder.
Why You Should Rent It: Here is hope that Harrison Ford can turn it around after last year’s disaster, Crossing Over. This is is first of two promising films this year (the latter being the summer comedy Morning Glory).
Leap Year (Tucker, Jan. 8th)
Synopsis: Anna (Amy Adams) has spent four years with her boyfriend, Jeremy (Scott), without a wedding proposal. During his business trip to Dublin, Anna opts to act on Leap Day, an Irish tradition that encourages women to propose to men on the date February 29th. A re-routed plane trip, however, lands her at the door of a Welsh innkeeper (Matthew Goode), who might offer a diversion of his own.
Why You Should Rent It: I’m putting a tiny amount of faith in this project considering the talent of the two leads and the director previous three efforts (Shop Girl, When Did You Last See Your Father, and an entry into the Red Riding trilogy) all turned out quite well.
Bitch Slap (Jacobson, Jan 8th)
Synopsis: Follows three bad girls (a down-and-out stripper, a drug-running killer and a corporate powerbroker) as they arrive at a remote desert hideaway to extort massive booty from a ruthless underworld kingpin.
Why You Should Rent It: If breasts and violence sound appealing together, then it looks like you can’t go wrong.
Do you agree with the list? What are you watching this month? (VOTE below!)